Review: A Bright New Boise

A darker brightness

A Bright New Boise; 8 p.m., Thursday, Friday and Saturday; $10-$16; Big Idea Theatre, 1616 Del Paso Boulevard; (916) 804-6923; Through July 16.
Rated 4.0

In a galaxy far, far away (a break room in a Boise, Idaho, Hobby Lobby store) there is an epic battle between good (self-awareness) and evil (unreliable religion). And as with any Star Wars episode, there is the Force. In playwright Samuel D. Hunter’s A Bright New Boise, that Force takes many forms: resignation, rebellion, belief in the biblical rapture. The play’s premise is that a sense of meaninglessness in one’s life results in the prayer that a Someone will step in and fix things.

The edgy comedy becomes increasingly dark as characters reveal their barren existences. Will (Jouni Kirjola), who has come to Boise to escape his cult church scandal, is being interviewed for a job by deliciously foul-mouthed store manager Pauline (Alexa Slater, who seems to relish the profanity). Will has baggage, unpacked piecemeal, often in answer to questions from co-worker Anna (Jamie Kale). Will has come to this particular store to reveal himself as the biological father of Alex (Kyle Burrow), a traumatized teenage summer employee. Alex only trusts his older foster brother Leroy (Torin Lusebrink, incomparable), who knows his calling in life: to get in-your-face with people, make them confront their biases and preconceptions. Leroy is heroic. He believes in himself and doesn’t need a god, but end-timer Will keeps praying for deliverance “now, now, now.”